Drusillas Zoo Park

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Drusillas Zoo Park
Location near Alfriston, East Sussex
Coordinates 50°49′26″N 0°9′46.8″E / 50.82389°N 0.163000°E / 50.82389; 0.163000Coordinates: 50°49′26″N 0°9′46.8″E / 50.82389°N 0.163000°E / 50.82389; 0.163000
Land area 10 acres (4.0 ha)
Number of animals 1638
Number of species 196
Annual visitors 370,000
Owner Laurence and Christine Smith
Website www.drusillas.co.uk

Drusillas Park is a small 10 acres (4.0 ha) zoo near to Alfriston, in East Sussex, UK. Its exhibits are targeted towards children between 2 and 10 years old. It is owned by Laurence and Christine Smith, who bought it from the previous proprietor in 1997. It attracts between 350,000 and 370,000 visitors per year.[1]

The zoo is home to both wild and domestic animals, including ring-tailed lemurs, meerkats, and penguins. There are many hands-on activities, an adventure play area separated for different age groups, an indoor soft play centre, and a Thomas & Friends train that runs daily. There are also cafes, shops, and a restaurant.

Animals and Attractions[edit]

Meerkats at Drusillas

The zoo has gradually increased the number of animal exhibits, but still maintains a policy of only having smaller animals. The zoo keeps a range of primates including crested black macaques, Brown Capuchin monkeys, Colobus Monkeys,[2] and Lar gibbons. Other residents include servals, African crested porcupines, Rodrigues fruit bats, Asian short claw otters, llamas, Humboldt penguins, parrots, and flamingos. Other exhibits include Pet World, Lemurland, a small farmyard, and a walk-through lorikeet aviary where you can feed nectar to the birds.

The 'Zoolympics challenge' lets children compare their abilities (to drag, hang on, jump, shout, run, and hold their breath) against a variety of animals, and record them in a booklet given free at the entrance. Children can also get 'stamp books' to stamp using tick shaped stamps found around the enclosures.

The adventure play area has swings, slides, and climbing walls, and has been separated into Go Bananas! for children under six and Go Wild! for older children. The indoor soft play centre includes a cafe selling drinks and snacks. An interactive maze, Eden's Eye, lets children discover different worlds, as helped along by a series of clues and mythical creatures.

Thomas & Friends[edit]

Thomas & Friends at Drusillas

In 2007 Drusillas Park became the first[citation needed] UK attraction to introduce a permanent Thomas & Friends train ride after securing a long-term deal with Hit Entertainment.

The passenger train offers rides from Tidmouth Hault, and travels through the llama paddock.[3] around the route are static representations of James in the engine shed, Cranky at the Sodor dockyard, and Diesel, Bulgy, and the Fat Controller.

The base locomotive is a 2ft gauge B'B' diesel-hydraulic, supplied by Metallbau Emmeln GmbH & Co. KG in 2007.[4] This is dressed up with non functional constantly rotating wheels to represent an 0-4-2T steam locomotive. There is also a Motor Rail four-wheel diesel mechanical (works number 9409 of 1948) on site.[4]

Hello Kitty[edit]

Hello Kitty Hopper Ride at Drusillas

Drusillas Park is also home to the first permanent Hello Kitty attraction in Europe - Hello Kitty Secret Garden.

Hello Kitty Secret Garden includes three specially designed children's rides: a Hello Kitty car ride, a tea cup ride and a “reach for the sky” hopper ride. There's also a Hello Kitty House and Parlour - where face painting and other activities take place - as well as regular meet and greet opportunities with Hello Kitty herself during key holiday times.

Awards & Accolades[edit]

Rated top attraction in Southern England in The Daily Telegraph's '20 Great Family Days Out' (May 2014)

Shortlisted as 'The Best Theme Park Half-term Holidays' by The Times (May 2014)

Drusillas won the Tourism South East Visitor Attraction of the Year Award 2010 -2011[citation needed]

Drusillas was rated the number two attraction in the UK by The Times in February 2010[citation needed]

Drusillas was recommended by The Guardian in their article 'Things to do with the Kids' in March 2010[citation needed]

Drusillas won the Sussex Business Awards 'Business of the Year' and 'Best Customer Service' in 2009 - 2010[citation needed]

Drusillas was voted 'Best Day Out in East Sussex' by Sovereign Radio and Arrow FM listeners in 2008[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lewis, Keith (2013-10-25). "£1m invested by creators of the first Hello Kitty garden in Europe: Drusilla's zoo park attraction open in spring". Kent and Sussex courier (Tunbridge Wells edition). p. 40. ISSN 1746-9317. 
  2. ^ "Alfriston zoo expecting new arrivals". theargus.co.uk. The Argus. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Thomas & Friends". drusillas.co.uk. Drusillas Park. Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Industrial Railway Society (2012). Industrial Locomotives (16EL). Industrial Railway Society. ISBN 978 1 901556 78 0. 

External links[edit]